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Why Do You Choose to Be a Patient Advocate or Navigator?
During the past few years of connecting with patient advocates and navigators, I’ve asked dozens (maybe hundreds) of people why they chose patient advocacy work. Each person has one, individual, personal answer to that question, but there are an astounding number of similiaries. Among them: They believe they were cut out to help patients in need. They have had some sort of experience that tells them that whatever they’ve been doing to that point is no longer enough. Working with patients, helping them navigate and find improved outcomes from the healthcare system, feels like a higher calling. They don’t like what they were doing before, whether that meant they worked in hospitals, as school teachers, librarians or for insurers or other payers who forced them to make choices they were not comfortable with. Among those who have worked in healthcare previously, perhaps as nurses or physicians, perhaps as some other health-related job, they all give an additional reason. This is the one almost-universal answer I’m given: When they chose nursing (or whatever their previous healthcare job was), they learned to be an advocate for patients. The evolution to the current healthcare system has taken away that opportunity. Therefore they hope that being an advocate or navigator will allow them to refocus on what’s important to them – the missing advocacy piece. Just as striking are the reasons for the shift to advocacy that are missing. No one ever tells me: They want to earn a lot of money. They are choosing work that is safe and secure. They want to be advocates because they want to take a lot of time off. I find this so interesting. I can’t think of any other career that gives people such satisfaction, while at the same time, offering so little perceived security (or time off!) I say “perceived” – because when done right, owning a business can be very secure. If you have chosen to start a private patient advocacy business, once you can get the ball rolling, it can be very secure. If you are the owner of the business, including a…